Our Questions to Charlie Patino: Arsenal’s Rising Star
Tipped to be the next Jack Wilshere and likened in the media to Santi Cazorla, Charlie Patino is said to be one of the best players to come through the Hale End academy by coaches. Currently playing for the Arsenal U23s at only 17 years of age and representing England U19 on an international stage, if you haven’t heard of Charlie yet as an Arsenal fan, you’re missing out on a wonderful young prodigy.
At the age of 12, Charlie had plenty of interest already whilst playing for Luton Town but signed for Arsenal who reportedly paid £10,000 in compensation for the midfielder. Since then he has climbed the ranks of the academy and found himself starting in the new & revamped U23 side under Kevin Betsy which includes talents such as Omari Hutchinson, Kido Taylor Hart and Folarin Balogun occasionally.
The 17-year-old is a box-to-box midfielder who can play in a defensive and attacking role depending on the situation. He had adopted the No.10 shirt in the Under 23 side and has been superb so far, notably scoring a standout goal where he took the ball and glided through the Manchester United defence before lobbing the keeper, which was United’s first-team No.2 in Dean Henderson. The stats on paper don’t credit his efforts enough but 1 goal and 1 assist in 7 matches so far and 4 assists in 2 seasons with the U19s assuredly makes Patino a key one to watch for the duration of the PL2 season.
— Arsenal Academy (@ArsenalAcademy) September 12, 2021
Arsenal’s first-team squad currently has four central midfielders in Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Mohamed Elneny with Ainsley Maitland Niles also publicly desiring his intent to play in that role. However, there was a lot of commotion prior to the Carabao Cup tie against AFC Wimbledon with manager Mikel Arteta interested in handing Patino an opportunity in the match squad. Unfortunately with rivals Tottenham Hotspur approaching that weekend in a must-win game, priority was given to players who needed game time to regain match fitness. Arteta stated in his press conference post-match that,
“He was very close, but in the end we decided that some players needed some minutes…Charlie’s been good. He played a practice match at [London] Colney and he was really good.”
Having not made the breakthrough into the match day squad yet, Charlie has made the important breakthrough into the first-team training. With Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe both graduating into starting roles in the full-strength side, some U23s may be handed their chance in this season if not the next campaign, and Patino looks to be top of the list with Tim Akinola and Marcelo Flores who also have been training with the first team side. With the news that Jack Wilshere is also back training with the team for the season ahead, it may be a chance for the youngsters to learn and improve like Jack went through a long time ago.
The whole of social media has been going wild about Charlie, and I have managed to get a brief moment to ask him four quickfire questions about himself and his aims for the season ahead:
AJ: What has been your favourite moment at Arsenal FC?
CP: Training with the 1st team this season and getting 60 minutes with them in a friendly against Brentford behind closed doors at the beginning of September 2021.
AJ: How would you describe yourself as a midfielder?
CP: A creative, intelligent & box to box playmaker.
AJ: Which footballers did you look up to/ look up to?
CP: I looked up to Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta.
AJ: What are your main goals/aspirations for this season?
CP: My main goals are to keep learning and working hard every day, helping the U23’s to win the PL2 League and earn more training time with the 1st team.
It is exciting times in the Hale End Academy ranks at Arsenal and with a lot of brilliant young players coming through season by season, Charlie Patino could well and truly follow in Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka’s footsteps and his career in the Arsenal first team looks like it’s set to be right around the corner.